A head space movie for kids – I loved it.
Riley (11) moves to San Francisco with her parents for the dad’s job. The new house is a bit of a dump, their furniture doesn’t arrive so she has to sleep on the floor and worst of all pizza comes with broccoli on it not pepperoni and cheese. So it’s all bad for Riley.
The emotions are appropriate colours and personalities and ‘work’ from a central control panel in Riley’s brain. There is Joy (yellow with blue hair) who of course is always upbeat, Anger who is red and square, plump little Sadness who is blue and tries hard, Fear is purple and Disgust who is green. After a terrible first day at the new school Sadness takes over and touches the core memories in Riley’s brain and she becomes sad and withdrawn. Joy is usually in charge but when the core memories are sent off to long term memory by Sadness they realise it is a serious emotional emergency. Joy and Sadness go off to retrieve the core memories and the other emotions are left in charge.
It’s very informative in a sly way…there are the core memories (visualised as glass balls) which are precious and must be kept safe. There are the islands of personality which are happy looking places (family, friends, school, ice hockey) and they sit on the edge of the memory dump, a huge black gaping hole which is a bad place as nothing is ever retrieved from there. A delightful train of thought runs through the brain (literally) and when Riley falls asleep the emotions can do their work of dealing with all the day’s memories. I loved the visualisation of the workings of the brain. Sadness is very intelligent in her sad little way and has read all of the manuals on long term memory so she knows how it works. While wandering in long term memory they met Bing Bong the imaginary friend from when Riley was little. He is a weird combination of elephant/dolphin/rabbit and cries lollies when sad but proves himself a hero. In a terrifying moment Joy and Bing Bong fall into the memory dump and as there is only enough mental energy for Joy to escape, Bing Bong stays down there forever.
Some bits of this movie reminded me of Inception (one of my favourites) with the visualising of what is happening in the brain or in the dream. There’s a simple story line but the attempt at personifying emotions and creating the world inside our head is imaginative and brilliantly done. Some of the humour will go straight over the kid’s heads but for both adults and kids, it’s a delightful movie.